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Teamwork Analysis and Problem-solving:  Silence in the Language Lesson
By michelle (2007)

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Aim: Cooperative problem-solving in class by reaching a collective comprise to prevent "silent" lessons.

Underlying Principle
: Both the teacher and students are responsible of the success of the teaching/learning process. In other words, a learning process cannot be developed by only one party.

* What does silence protect you from? What benefits do you get from keeping silent in the lesson?
* Can you commit yourself as a determinant of achievement in solving this problem? Why?

PROCEDURE 1: Small Groups
Each group will deal with one of the three topics listed below, following this procedure:

Step 1. Each person speaks for 1 min. approx. on the topic.
Step 2. When everybody has spoken, you discuss the issues raised.
Step 3. You jot down your conclusions in to-the-point statements.
Step 4. In turns, report your conclusions to the plenary.

Tips: Keep track of time and participation. Remember to listen to all before discussing.

PROCEDURE 2: Plenary Session

Step 1. We listen to the to-the-point summaries coming from each group.
Step 2. We discuss them in plenary, trying to move on to possible answers – which are our priority at this point.
Step 3. We reach a consensus and we comprise (see footnote) on whatever we are willing to offer. We should include two areas: personal commitment and group commitment.
Step 4. Group commitments are written down by volunteers, so that we can pin them on the notice board next week.

Topic Blocks for Group Discussion

All groups should consider the topic from different viewpoints: individual, group dynamics, teacher/student roles, personality roles. Limits: no “blamestorming” please. Our target is rational self-criticism and the critique of “silencing” group dynamics.

  • Causes of silence in class (Description & Analysis)

Tips: think in terms of individuals and the group as a whole. (You can include a critique to what the teacher does or does not do in class to encourage participation, of course!)

  • Assessment of the impact of silence in the language lesson (Analysis & Evaluation)

Tips: What does silence have to offer to the individual and the group? Who does what to whom? How does each one feel? What about the group? What about the teacher?

  • Answers: Preventing silence in the communicative lesson (Practical procedures and commitment)

Tips: What to do to prevent silence when we need to communicate or express ourselves. Answers to our problem, from an individual/collective perspective, from the students’ roles and the teacher’s role.

In arguments, compromise is a concept of finding agreement through communication, through a mutual acceptance of terms—often involving variations from an original goal or desire. It is the central aspect of any process of negotiation wherein disagreement exists, but both parties consider an outcome of agreement to be more important than the potential gain of particular items.